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Pedestrians attempt to dodge campus danger


By Georgeanne Barrett
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, August 27, 2004
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Traffic, bicycles, and masses of people offer many challenges for pedestrians on campus.

UAPD and Parking and Transportation Services oversee safety challenges for pedestrians on campus, and advise pedestrians to be as safe as possible.

The constant flow of people walking and biking, combined with sidewalks closed due to construction, can provide an obstacle for pedestrians trying to make their way around campus.

Patrick Kass, the director of Parking and Transportation Services, said he recognizes that being a pedestrian at the UA can be dangerous.

"Since this campus is such a condensed area, there are always going to be conflicts with pedestrians, bicycles, and vehicles," Kass said.

Kass said even though there are construction sites on campus, he has not noticed an increase in problems for pedestrians. Overall Kass said as long as people are aware and try to be safe, they will be.

Sgt. Eugene Mejia, spokesman for the UAPD, agreed there could potentially be many hazards for pedestrians on campus. Mejia said being safe has to do with common sense, like looking both ways before crossing the street, and being aware of your surroundings.

"Since there is a substantial amount of pedestrians, it is always good to pay attention to the traffic patterns," Mejia said.

Mejia said a problem he has noticed is that pedestrians are frequently on cell phones, and not paying attention to what is going on around them.

"I have seen students and employees with cell phones step out into the road without looking," Mejia said. "People need to take a moment to make phone calls before putting the car into drive."

Mejia said he has not seen an increase in accidents involving pedestrians in recent reports, and that traffic engineers have done their best to make the streets around the UA safe with crosswalks that include traffic controls.

"There are certain rules to follow," Mejia said. "Pay attention to your surroundings, which will make people aware of the people around them. This makes them less susceptible to other crimes."

Students have also noticed the dangers and obstacles of being a pedestrian on the UA campus. Cassie Yorgensen, an animal science junior, said it is dangerous for pedestrians on campus, especially in areas that pedestrians and bicyclists must share due to construction.

She said in areas where bicycles are supposed to be walked, people do not always pay attention to the signs.

"People aren't watching," Yorgensen said. "I almost got ran over there."

Tanya Maese, a marketing and photography freshman, agreed with Yorgensen that pedestrians need to pay attention when walking on campus.

Maese said pedestrians should be aware of the constant flow of bicycles.

She also said being a pedestrian can be scary at night when cars cannot see pedestrians as easily.

"It's not bad during the day," Maese said. "At night it gets scarier."



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